Biography of Thomas Benton Hutchings

Thomas Benton Hutchings, residing five miles east of San Bernardino, on Base Line, was born in Ray County, Missouri, in 1852. His parents, Hovey and Amanda (McQuiston) Hutchings, had a family of five children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the youngest. His mother died when he was but six weeks old, and his father married a second time and had six children by his last marriage. He was a farmer, owning several farms, also a dry-goods merchant and owner of a large sawmill, but lost nearly all of his property by the late war. He made a trip to California as early as 1849 and mined for two years, and then returned to Missouri. In 1865 he crossed the plains with his family. Thomas Benton Hutchings, then a lad of fourteen, drove an ox team all the way from the Missouri river to California, and though but a boy he paid very close attention to what took place on that memorable journey. They crossed the Missouri river at Plattsmouth and traveled on the south side of Platte River until within three miles of Denver. At that time there were a number of forts-one at Fort Laramie, Fort Junction, etc., and soldiers were stationed at each. They were some 400 miles apart and the Indians were troublesome. The train crossed the Platte River eighty miles north of Denver, and continued the journey through the Black Hills to Utah. There they lay over on the public square for three days. Then being rested they continued south through the Mormon settlement and camped out at various times for two or three weeks. They had no serious trouble in camp until they got to Muddy River. At Virgin River they camped ten days to recruit their stock, and then began the journey across the American Desert. They traveled two days and two nights and hauled water a distance of seventy miles. After crossing the desert they hired the Indians to take charge, of the stock, which was to be returned next morning at daylight. Early the next morning they started to cross the next desert. They reached Las Vegas at night and stayed there three days. They then came to Mofano River, then to Cajon Pass, and camped at Cucamonga ranch one day (the last day of September). They reached El Monte, in Los Angeles County, October 2. They had a good deal of sickness on the journey and buried two children on the way. The train consisted of eleven wagons. The father of the subject of this sketch had two ox teams and two horse teams. He was beaten by Indians at Anaheim who mistook him for another man, and he went insane from the effect of his wounds. He died in Napa in 1878.

Our subject came from Los Angeles County in 1888 to San Bernardino, where he bought and took charge of the American Feed and Livery Stables, which occupied his attention for two years. He still owns valuable property in San Bernardino, and has recently bought the residence property on Base Line, where he now lives, at a cost of $5,000. Here he has one-half acre of oranges, one acre of Muscat grapes, three fourths of an acre of alfalfa and the remainder in deciduous fruits.

Mr. Hutchings was married in 1883 to Miss Mary Shay, a native of California, daughter of W. A. Shay, one of the earliest pioneers of California, and has two children: Eliza B. and Clayton W.



The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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